The end of the COVID-19 pandemic is near, and not just because of the vaccination rollout. Doctors made tremendous progress in treating the coronavirus, and one recent discovery grants us extra hope that COVID-19 will soon become just a common cold.
The Hill writes about a newfound chemical compound from a sea creature that could stop the SARS-CoV-2 virus. It worked for lab experiments, which means great news.
Plitidepsin could save COVID-19 patients
Aplidium albicans may sound totally uninteresting for the average citizens, but it’s a sea organism that could hold the key for saving thousands of lives. Also known as sea squirts, Aplidium albicans allowed researchers to extract the chemical compound known as plitidepsin. After testing the compound in preclinical experiments against the SARS-CoV-2 virus, scientists found evidence that suggests the possibility of the drug being used as a cure for COVID-19.
Kris White, first author of the study paper and an assistant professor of microbiology at ISMMS, explained:
Plitidepsin is an extremely potent inhibitor of SARS-CoV-2, but its most important strength is that it targets a host protein rather than a viral protein.
The professor further added:
This means that if plitidepsin is successful in the treatment of COVID-19, the SARS-CoV-2 virus will be unable to gain resistance against it through mutation, which is a major concern with the spread of the new U.K. and South African variants.
The research group also tested the drug against the new COVID-19 strain that emerged in the U.K. last year, and they found that it was effective. Plitidepsin still has to pass more tests for scientists to be sure that it can be used for treating COVID-19 patients, but we have strong reasons to be optimistic.
The results of the study were published in Science.